There are many things future yacht owners should consider before selecting the flag to drape over the back of the boat. Not least worldwide support

The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. They lie in the centre of the Polynesian Triangle, flanked to the west by the Kingdom of Tonga and the Samoa’s and to the east by Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia. The capital island of Rarotonga, lies directly south of Hawaii and is the same distance south of the equator as Hawaii is north

Maritime Cook Islands operates an open register for ships and yachts via a network of Deputy Registrars around the world. Maritime Cook Islands performs all Flag State duties for the Cook Islands government through an agreement with the Ministry of Transport. The Registry provides a wide range of services – private, commercial, dual, charter and passenger yacht registrations

The Cook Islands is an English common law jurisdiction. As such, Cook Islands maritime law is based on English law, with the Cook Islands final court of appeal being the Privy Council in London. There are no restrictions on the nationality of crew, which in today’s world is a great advantage and the organisation run white list for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

As for their financial regulatory standards, the Cook Islands is rated as one of the most compliant countries in the world for anti-money laundering (AML). That rating is from the objective and comprehensive Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) & Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation Report September 2018. The Cook Islands is rated higher for AML than many of the more popular or well known Jurisdiction and some British Overseas Territories.

As a ship or yacht owner, you can easily qualify to register your yacht through membership of the Cook Islands Ship Owners Association (CISOA) or Cook Islands Yacht Squadron (CIYS), by establishing a Cook Islands International Company or by registering an existing Foreign Company on the Cook Islands International Companies Register.

Cook Islands requires that all ships that fly the flag comply with all of the relevant international maritime conventions but they do not impose any additional requirements beyond IMO Conventions and IACS Unified Interpretations. The ship or yacht registration process is simple and efficient and can be completed with assistance of your nearest Deputy Registrar.

Cook Islands requires that all ships comply with all of the relevant international maritime conventions but do not impose any additional requirements beyond IMO Conventions and IACS Unified Interpretations.

A flag state with the lowest fees or the least intrusive regulatory regime is fine when things are running smoothly, but when problems arise you will find out the value of a good flag state. And with Port State Control visits on the increase and detentions more frequent, you’ll want a flag state that can guide you through these issues. This is where the Deputy Registrars come in to their own. There is a reliable network of over 25 Deputy Registrars in major maritime hubs around the world. Their aim to serve you in your time zone and in your language.

With more maritime legislation coming in to force, climate change, cyber threats and an ever more digitised world, cruising on a yacht is not necessarily always plain sailing, but a robust, respected ship register will help keep you steering a good course through the choppy waters.

For more details contact your local

Deputy Registrar

or visit